A Lighter Side to American Heart Month – Heart Healthy Food for Seniors

A Lighter Side to American Heart Month – Heart Healthy Food for Seniors

Healthy eating is an important part of everyday life for everyone. Nutrition plays an important role in the overall function of our minds and bodies. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains that as we age, “healthy eating can make a difference in our health, help to improve how we feel, and encourage a sense of wellbeing.” In an effort to help all Americans eat more healthfully, the USDA created ChooseMyPlate.gov to help people of all ages get better nutrition. Join us as we review a few of their tips and tricks and offer some fun snack ideas along the way!

Healthy eating habits, first and foremost, can help aging adults get the appropriate nutrients they need to thrive. Nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals, and dietary fiber are often the most needed and most effective when obtained from food. These nutrients can help seniors maintain a healthy weight, keep up energy levels, and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Seniors can also better manage existing chronic diseases by eating well.

Healthy eating habits, first and foremost, can help aging adults get the appropriate nutrients they need to thrive. Nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals, and dietary fiber are often the most needed and most effective when obtained from food. These nutrients can help seniors maintain a healthy weight, keep up energy levels, and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Seniors can also better manage existing chronic diseases by eating well.

But how can we identify which foods are nutrient rich? At the base of it, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins are all nutrient rich and good for the body. Beyond that, when you’re looking at packaged goods in the store, look for the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark. According to the American Heart Association “When you see it, you can be confident the product aligns with our recommendations for an overall healthy eating pattern. It takes both beneficial nutrients and nutrients to limit into consideration, making it quick and easy for you to make a healthy choice.”

Nutrient dense, senior friendly snacks don’t have to be complex to be satisfying and easy to prepare. According to Heart.org, foods like yogurt, milk, fruit, and nuts are nutrient dense and healthy. Consider a dollop of whole fat yogurt with a small drizzle of honey, fresh fruit, some nuts, and even a few dark chocolate chips to curb your sweet tooth. Or, if you’re craving something salty, give different hummus flavors or yogurt-based dips with vegetables or whole grain crackers a try. These are all things that are easy to keep around the house and can be prepared on a whim.

The truth is, we know most produce, lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts — when prepared with little or no saturated fats, added sugars or sodium — are nutrient-dense foods. (Heart.org) Any combination of these things are a great way to start preparing heart-healthy meals and snacks. If you’re looking for something to add a little crunch, try baking chickpeas with the seasoning of your choice in place of chips or try some air popped popcorn with some parmesan and garlic on top.

At the end of the day, it’s best to try and make small changes rather than none at all. The next time you head to the grocery store, consider making the following swaps:

  • Switch from white rice to brown rice.
  • Replace sugary drinks with water, unsweetened tea, or coffee.
  • Instead of a big dollop of sour cream on your chili or baked potato, try plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • Switch from processed deli meat to sliced roasted chicken for a hearty sandwich.
  • When adding toppings to pizza, tacos or sandwiches, think one more veggie instead of meat or cheese.
  • Snack on crunchy vegetables or nuts instead of chips.
  • Satisfy a sweet tooth with naturally sweet fruit instead of candy and cookies.

(Heart.org)

If the aging adults in your life have trouble grocery shopping, cooking, preparing snacks, or maintaining a healthy diet, consider hiring an in-home care specialist to provide much-needed support. In-home care professionals can help seniors maintain their independence while still successfully managing daily routines and chores. For more information on in-home care help, call your local AmeriCare today!

By |2020-02-12T16:53:01+00:00February 12th, 2020|Elderly Care|Comments Off on A Lighter Side to American Heart Month – Heart Healthy Food for Seniors
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